Una Cita-Quedamos-Pedir Salir

There is a big cultural difference between the US and Spain regarding men and women asking each other out for a “date”. Actually, linguistically there is no way to ask someone out for a date. You can ask someone for “una cita” or a “quedamos”–both ways of expressing “to meet”. But there is no implication that the people are getting together for anything other then to meet and have an good time. There is no implication of anything to come after the gathering or implications for advancement of “the relationship” to the next step.

This is the norm in Madrid. People meet, hangout, go home and life goes on. I was presented this concept in oppostion to my Spanish professor’s experience in the US. When men asked her out, they never seemed to do so just to gather. She told me that the men always thought they were “on a date” and this caused her issues when she lived in the US. It actually inhibited her ability to have male friends in the US as they did not seem to be able to interact with her outside of the context of “dating” her. She was used to going out with men in Madrid who would meet for cafe, kiss both cheeks, have a pleasant conversation and then go on their way. Not expect to come home with her or ask when they were going to “get together again”.

On the other hand, when it is clear that two people do indeed like each other and are attracted to each other you can “pedir salir” (ask to go out). This is a situation where it is known the people are attracted to each other and are going to hangout. It is not the same as asking someone who you do not know, or barely know for a date. You don’t get to know people through “dating” here. You get to know them by your friends and their friends all going someplace together. I have rarely seem people out by themselves here. They are always with a group of friends.

I am trying to avoid over analizing this different. Trying not to think about the goal directed behavior of people in the US as opposed to just being in the moment. Trying not to consider the implications of men and women being able to be friends with each other without having to deal with issues related to “what’s next”. Trying not to think about being in a society that if a man buys dinner, heck even a cup of coffee, he has not bought “you” (especially interesting in a culture when a man can legally buy a women’s time–but that is another blog).

So to the female readers of this blog, do you have male friends who you can just hang out with. To the male readers of this blog, would you take a female out without further expectations.

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 11:31 pm  Leave a Comment